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Revolution and the Ritual Year: Religious Conflict and Innovation in Cristero Mexico


This article analyses Catholic responses to persecution of the Church by the Mexican state during Mexico's cristero rebellion (1926–9) and seeks to make a new contribution to the revolt's religious history. Faced with the Calles regime's anticlericalism, the article argues, Mexico's episcopate developed an alternative cultic model premised on a revitalised lay religion. The article then focuses on changes and continuities in lay – clerical relations, and on the new religious powers of the faithful, now empowered to celebrate ‘white’ masses and certain sacraments by themselves. The article concludes that persecution created new spaces for lay religious participation, showing the 1910–40 Revolution to be a period of religious, as well as social, upheaval.

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I would like to thank the JLAS referees and the participants in the conference on religion and revolution held at Queen's University Belfast in October 2005 for their comments.
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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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